'THE AVERAGE DIARY COW PRODUCES 52KG OF MANURE EVERY DAY, THE EQUIVALENT OF A 13 YEAR OLD BOY IN WEIGHT'
During the summer months, a large portion of the manure is used to fertilise the fields. However during the winter farms are strictly prevented to spread on the fields as it can get into the water ways. This causes a big problem: farms do not have the capacity to manage the volume of manure that is being produced. Safely disposing of this vast quantity of toxic waste is a serious and expensive challenge for farmers.
Agricultural pollution has grown as farming practices have intensified. Excessive slurry spreading can lead to harmful airborne pollution and damage to waterways. There were 424 serious pollution incidents linked to dairy, poultry and pig farms between 2010 and 2016. Many farms view the associated fines as part of routine running costs.
CHANGING COLOUR PALLET'
'People want cheap food, but we must ensure that our children inherit a world where water is safe and farming is sustainable.'
'Agricultural waste can pollute the air with large amounts of harmful gases such as ammonia, nitrous oxide and hydrogen sulphide.'
'Agricultural pollution is an “endemic problem” that is the major cause of the drastic decline in UK freshwater fish species.'
One way of managing excess cow manure is Anaerobic Digestion, the process of converting organic waste into bio gas and electricity. The process starts by thousands of bacteria breaking down the material, abstracting bio gas in the form of methane and CO2. The bio gas is then converted into electricity that is either used directly on the farm or put back into the national grid.
Reference: Museo della Merda
WHAT COULD THIS ARCHITECTURE LOOK LIKE?
Following the bio gas abstraction, you are left with a secondary waste by-product called digestate. Whilst some of this can be used to fertile the field, it leaves farmers with the same problem: too much digestate, not enough storage. This farm in Italy have found a way of transforming excess digestate into a material called 'merdacotta' by mixing excess digestate with clay and straw and then firing the material at 1000C.
'The principle of the merdacotta products is anti-design - substance over form, shit over shape.'
THE SHIT BRICK
How it's made